A member of the notorious Bloods since he was 12 years old – both in the film and in real life – Primo takes John, the son of his slain mentor, under his wing, versing him in the code of the streets. Set in East New York, FIVE STAR blends documentary and fictional storytelling as director Keith Miller carefully avoids worn clichés of gang culture to offer a compelling portrait of two men forced to confront the question of what it really means to be a man. (IMDb)
The main draw for this one is the blend of documentary and storytelling. The actual plot is false, but Primo is an actual member of the Bloods and John Diaz is an actual kid from New York. That is the part of this movie that works. Instead of the cliched “coming of age in the ‘hood” thing we’ve seen over and over, we get a more true slice of life. We see Primo playing with his kids and talking to his wife about rent and security deposits. It’s actually quite interesting. In fact, the very opening monologue about the night his son was born is the most compelling part of the whole thing. Speaking of, that’s the area where this didn’t quite hit the mark for me. Yes, seeing the slice of life was interesting, but it wasn’t exactly compelling. I found myself half-watching almost the entire middle. But, I will say that slice of life isn’t my favorite, and I’m big on dialogue. And when there’s five whole minutes of John and his girlfriend mumbling to each other, it just doesn’t do it for me. But, this is still interesting, and is a refreshing departure from what we usually see in this genre.